Farming Practices

Stewards of
the Land

Our goal at Phillips Farms is to ensure that all our customers receive the highest-quality products that are not only delicious and nutritious, but safe as well. We follow what we believe to be best agricultural practices for safeguarding your health and ours. We consistently strive to demonstrate good stewardship of our farmland, while simultaneously protecting the environment and ensuring the sustainability of our community.
Phillips Farms is located in the scenic Delaware Valley of Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Maintaining soil health is essential at Philips Farms in Milford NJ

Healthy Soil

Taking proper care of the soil is key to any sustainable farming operation. At Phillips Farms we make our own compost from vegetable and fruit waste and municipal leaves. We also bring in Spent Mushroom Substrate as a compost material, which helps add natural nutrients to the soil. We add compost to vegetable fields to build organic matter, enhance soil fertility, and increase microbial activity within the soil. We grow winter and summer cover crops extensively to further add organic matter back into the soil.

We have purchased additional farm acreage in recent years to give some of our fields a rest, which reduces recurring pests and helps regenerate the soil’s natural health. We frequently use pasteurized pelletized chicken manure as a natural fertilizer.

Environmental Stewardship

We are proud to have been recognized by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District for our environmental efforts. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has commended our efforts with the Environmental Stewardship Initiative for our “voluntary and proactive measures taken to go beyond compliance in an effort to improve the environment and ensure a sustainable future.” Phillips Farms was named Conservation Farm of the Year by the Hunterdon County Soil Conservation District.
Grapevines at Phillips Farm Market in Holland Township, New Jersey
Solar panels, drip irrigation and farmland preservation are essential conservation practices at Phillips Farms in Milford, NJ

Conservation

Water Use
Phillips Farms uses drip irrigation extensively on all crops. Drip irrigation reduces runoff and uses less water and energy than many other forms of irrigation. The on-farm weather station, together with soil moisture meters, help to give plants the correct amount of water and fertilizer.

Preserved Farmland
Over 75% of the land we own and farm is permanently deed-restricted to farmland through the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program.

Solar Panels
Completed in 2022, a roof-mounted solar array at the Home Farm supplies almost all of our electricity needs for that location.

Pest control

Marc Phillips inspects the apple orchard at Phiilips Farms in New JerseyPest control is a complicated process. Phillips Farms uses an integrated approach to pest control, referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). While we have embraced many organic farming techniques, Phillips Farms does not profess to be an organic farm.

Many of the pest control techniques we employ are endorsed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). We use beneficial insects, such as predatory mites and parasites; pest mating disruption and pheromone lures to keep pest numbers low; and beneficial bacteria, fungi, plant activators and biostimulants to increase the resistance of plants to disease.

Phillips Farms works closely with Rutgers University Extension to monitor crops. All of the farm fields are professionally scouted for insects and diseases. There are thresholds of population or damage that are used to determine the proper time of treatment. The farm has its own weather station, which uploads real-time weather information to computer models, which are then used to predict disease outbreaks and can help prevent small problems from becoming big ones.

Phillips Farms does use synthetically produced chemicals when this solution is the best option. Chemicals today are much softer and more pest-specific than they were 10 years ago. We target specific pests with materials that are used at very low rates and are safe in the environment.

Chemicals are used responsibly by licensed applicators who follow the law regarding worker safety and days until harvest. All chemicals used are strictly regulated by the federal government to ensure a safe food supply and a clean environment.

New invasive species in the last 10 years, such as the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug, Spotted Lanternfly and Spotted Wing Drosophila, all can devastate crops. All of the certified pesticide applicators at Phillips Farms spend hours of continuing education per year to learn the most up-to-date techniques of pest control.

You, the consumer, should educate yourself with sound science-based information about pesticide use in agriculture, and always wash your fruit and vegetables with water before eating.